Good Thing Twitter Is Politically Unbiased Now
All last week, at the behest of billionaire Elon Musk, Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss dropped what they thought were huge journalistic bombs about pre-Elon Musk Twitter, widely embraced by those who desperately want to pretend that the site acted nefariously to prevent Trump from being President and eye-rolled over by anyone capable of thinking about anything for more than two seconds.
On Saturday, Michael Shellenberger, author of a book titled San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities — which attributed the preponderance of unhoused people in San Francisco not to the city's absurdly high cost of living but rather to progressives seeing those people as victims of a crap system and refusing to tell them to pull themselves up by their bootstraps — joined the fun with yet another thread about how terrible it was to ban Trump from the site on January 6.
Once again, this shows people having intelligent conversations about what the best course of action is regarding what to do about the fact that people were actively committing violent crimes and trying to overthrow the government, at least in part due to lies Trump was using the platform to spread.
\u201cOn Jan 7, senior Twitter execs:\n\n- create justifications to ban Trump \n\n- seek a change of policy for Trump alone, distinct from other political leaders\n\n- express no concern for the free speech or democracy implications of a ban \n\nThis #TwitterFiles is reported with @lwoodhouse\u201d— Michael Shellenberger (@Michael Shellenberger) 1670714889
Trump behaved differently on Twitter from other world leaders. He is the one who made himself the exception. He broke every possible rule of Twitter and the site repeatedly had to explain why it was okay when he did it but not okay when anyone else did. Once he was no longer president, that excuse wasn't going to fly anymore.
One thing to remember here is that the fact that it was something of a minor scandal that right wing social media site Parler had been used to organize and facilitate the January 6 insurrection.
Trump had been using the platform and his incredible influence over people to convince them of untrue things — not just that the election had been stolen from him, but that they had been betrayed by Mike Pence who could have installed Trump as President and refused. These lies directly contributed to those people committing crimes, committing violence and ending up in prison.
There was another time, by the way, that a charismatic leader convinced people of lies and then those people went and committed a bunch of crimes because they believed doing so would lead to a race war, which would then ultimately lead to him being in charge of everyone. That dude ended up in prison for the rest of his life — longer, even, than some of those who had actually committed the crimes. Outside of social media, there is very little question that those who exert that amount of influence over people are responsible for the crimes those people commit in their name.
Shellenberger's other smoking gun is the fact that Twitter employees cheered when Jack finally said that after five strikes it would be possible to permanently ban politicians who repeatedly violate the rules of Twitter.
\u201c\u201cProgress!\u201d exclaims a member of Roth\u2019s Trust and Safety Team. \n\nThe exchange between Roth and his colleagues makes clear that they had been pushing @jack for greater restrictions on the speech Twitter allows around elections.\u201d— Michael Shellenberger (@Michael Shellenberger) 1670715055
All of that being said, the whole purpose of "The Twitter Files" is to prove that Twitter was politically biased against conservatives — and that, to some degree, this is why Trump lost the election. They didn't let people post pictures of Hunter Biden's dick, they wouldn't let Trump direct the insurrection from his phone or keep using the site to push lies that cause people to commit violent crimes, and because of this, Joe Biden is now president and it's not fair.
Meanwhile, the site's algorithm actually favors conservatives and has for years. The only reason the site tended to censure a lot more conservatives than liberals is specifically because conservatives insist upon breaking the rules, partly because "trolling culture" has become the dominant culture on the Right, thanks in no small part to Trump himself. Also partly because the Left simply isn't going around using racial slurs or attacking people based on their gender, sexuality or ethnicity on the regular.
What were they going to do? Just start banning liberal accounts that don't violate any rules just to make it feel more fair to the Right?
Shellenberger, Taibbi and Weiss all repeatedly cite the fact that Twitter employees of all levels donated to Democrats more than to Republicans, as if this were proof of an actual crime. It's the smoking gun that proves political bias, they say.
Meanwhile, Elon Musk is kissing the ass of every right-wing lunatic he can find, reinstating the accounts of actual Nazis like Andrew Anglin, and promoting right-wing lunacy himself. He smugly spread the lie that the man who attacked Paul Pelosi was his secret gay lover and then acted shocked when Elton John left the site over misinformation being spread. Today he tweeted that his pronouns are "Prosecute/Fauci" (they have one joke) despite the fact that there is nothing to "prosecute" Anthony Fauci for. His right-wing bias is blatant and, despite what The New York Times may say, it is that simple.
Musk may consider himself a centrist. I don't know what Shellenberger's deal is, but Taibbi and Weiss may even still consider themselves somewhat politically liberal. That doesn't actually matter because regardless of any personal political leanings on specific issues, they all personally benefit from a dominant right-wing culture.
Everything was going great for Taibbi until the Me Too movement happened and people started criticizing his misogynistic writing and behavior towards women from when he was an expat in Russia. He has every right to assume that this never would have happened if the Left had not felt so empowered.
Weiss, too, lost her career largely over the Left feeling empowered enough to challenge her, which was not supposed to be allowed. Weiss's primary issue in life is the fact that the Left exists and that people on the Left express opinions she does not necessarily like or agree with — frequently on Twitter. This is what she calls "cancel culture" and it has been her life's work to rid the world of it.
Much of the criticism they and those they align with ideologically have dealt with over recent years has come from the Left wing of Twitter. Both of their careers might be in very different places now had the Right dominated the platform from the beginning. That's their bias.
Many users of Twitter, myself included, have noticed that as of the last few weeks, we have been repeatedly seeing tweets from right-wing politicians and pundits we do not follow — just there, in our timeline, for no apparent reason. It sure would be nice to see some Twitter Files on the neutral, unbiased way that came about. Just so we can all learn the right way to do these things.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse